Military is 'main source' of loose firearms in Mindanao: MILF chair

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2019 08:34 AM | Updated as of Sep 18 2019 09:07 AM

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MANILA - The "main source" of loose firearms in Mindanao is the Philippine military itself, the interim chief minister of Bangsamoro region said Wednesday.

Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, also chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said the illicit firearms bear the markings of the Department of National Defense.

"Most of the firearms is still coming from the armory of the Armed Forces of the Philippines," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"I think that’s the main source because now we do not see any firearms or weapons coming outside. Maybe before, during the early 70s, there are firearm purchases outside of the country but today it is no longer happening."

Murad said it is up to the military to "be strict in the control of the firearms."

On Sep. 7, the MILF began its decommissioning of combatants and firearms, with more than a thousand guerrillas handing over their 940 weapons to authorities.

Murad said around 7,000 weapons owned by the MILF and 10,000 personally owned by the combatants will be decommissioned.

Decommissioned combatants will receive aid packages worth some P1 million, which includes P100,000 cash, housing projects and livelihood training, among others.

"We need to ensure also that there is security in the area because people desire to have weapons because...sometimes they feel it is survival to have their weapon," he said.

The region will have three justice systems--civil code, Shariah Law, and Indigenous Peoples--in order to address conflicts in the area, Murad said.

He added that he met with President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night to discuss the region's intergovernmental relations mechanism with the national government.

The region also asked for a supplementary budget of P21 billion for the remaining months this year, as it had been using the budget of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.